Fed Should “Freeze Interest Rates, Involve Citizens” Says Neighborhoods Organizing For Change

Not everybody is benefiting equally from the economic recovery. A new report shows in Minnesota blacks are suffering disproportionally to whites when it comes to employment.Anthony Newby, Executive Director of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC), delivered a report of about the current economic state of people of color in Minnesota and specifically the current and possible role of the Federal Reserve Bank. The new report from the Center for Popular Democracy says since 2000, wages in Minnesota have declined by 4.5%, current unemployment rate for blacks is 10.9% vs a white rate of 2.8%.This is the link to the full report “Wall Street, Main Street, and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard:Why African Americans Must Not Be Left Out of the Federal Reserve’s Full-Employment Mandate”Newby argues that the Fed in addition to controlling interest rates, can control the rate of unemployment. He and Rev. Paul Slack, ISIAH President, ask that interest rates be kept at the current levels and that the Fed work to reduce unemployment.Why there is a Federal ReserveThe nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve, was created on December 23, 1913, with the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act, largely in response to a series of financial panics. There had been strong resistance to a central bank since the founding of the nation. Continue Reading


Obama nominates Katherine Simonds Dhanani as first U.S. Ambassador to Somalia in 24 years

President Barack Obama has nominated the first U.S. ambassador to Somalia in 24 years. She is Katherine Simonds Dhanani, a Foreign Service veteran who has previously served in five other African countries in various capacities. Dhanani will be based in neighboring Kenya until the situation in Somalia stabilizes to allow the U.S. embassy to reopen.U.S. State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said in a statement to Mshale that the nomination was a sign of the “deepening relationship” between Somalia and the United States. “Somalia has considerable work ahead to complete its transition to a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous nation. The United States is committed to supporting Somalia on this journey as a steadfast partner,” she added.Two years ago, the U.S. recognized the new U.N.-backed Somali government which continues to battle al-Qaeda linked al-Shabab.Other African countries that she has served in: Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe from 2007 to 2010 as well as at the U.S. Embassy in Libreville, Gabon from 2005 to 2007. Additionally, she was the Political and Economic Section Chief at the U.S. Embassy in Lusaka, Zambia from 2002 to 2005 and Economic Section Chief at the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1999 to 2002.Dhanani also served as Staff Assistant in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs at the Department of State, as Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo.Dhanani received a B.A. from Kenyon College and an M.A. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.The U.S. Embassy in Mogadishu closed in 1991 when Somalia’s government collapsed as civil war ensued.”As security conditions permit, we look forward to increasing our diplomatic presence in Somalia and eventually reopening the U.S. Embassy in Mogadishu,” Psaki said.Dhanani’s nomination requires senate confirmation. Continue Reading

Eric Virakhone Panya at his restaurant.

Becoming a Lao Restauranteur: Eric Virakhone Panya

When I first moved to Fort Worth, Texas in July 2013, I was told that there was vibrant Lao community nearby. In fact, according to the U.S. Census, there are about 10,000 Laotian Americans in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex alone. Out of that 10,000, about 3,000 reside in the Fort Worth Area. I was excited; perhaps adjusting to life in Texas wouldn’t be too hard with a Lao community nearby and most of all, Lao comfort food readily available right around the corner.A quick Yelp! search led me to Sikhay Restaurant in Northeast Fort Worth. Continue Reading

Protestors filled the streets Tuesday outside the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., as the state Senate passed Right to Work legislation. Photo courtesy of Wisconsin AFL-CIO

Wisconsin workers again battle Walker’s anti-labor steamroller

MADISONTrashing his earlier promises to provide a fair hearing, the Republican leader of Wisconsin’s state Senate labor committee rammed through a bill Tuesday that would make union shops illegal in the state. The bill passed in the GOP-controlled labor committee along partisan lines and moves on to the full Senate where the GOP has the votes for approval.The national AFL-CIO Executive Council, meeting in Atlanta, condemned the right wing steamroller in Madison, vowing to support Wisconsin workers wholeheartedly.”So-called right to work laws do nothing to create jobs or close the wage gap,” former Labor Secretary Robert Reich declared at a labor-organized town hall in Atlanta as the Wisconsin workers massed in protest 800 miles away at the Capitol in Madison.At 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, the GOP-run state Senate had finally allowed some minutes of public discussion on the latest GOP attack on labor. The angry members of the public in the Senate chamber had been waiting for their chance to speak since 8 a.m. and they didn’t get that chance until the early evening.With Democratic Sen. Chris Larson of Milwaukee objecting to the obvious rush job, Republican Sen. Steve Nass of Whitewater gaveled the hearings to a close at 6:20 p.m., just over an hour after the public began testifying. So much for his earlier promises to the media that there would be fair and open hearings.His explanation was that the police and later that a newspaper blog had warned him of impending disruption that would allegedly come from the peaceful thousands gathering to protest outside in  the Capitol and from the patient but angry hundreds who were inside waiting to testify.When a few dozen workers who were inside erupted in profanities after being denied the right to speak, Nass went on radio immediately to use their outrage to justify the cutting off of democratic discussion.Such is the blitzkrieg citizens in the once democratic state of Wisconsin face as the Gov. Scott Walker legislative majority pushes past the citizen comments and stakes out unions as the Judas goat to herd the state’s economy to slaughter.It was a playbook taken right out of what happened in Wisconsin when the GOP killed collective bargaining rights for public employees a few years ago and out of states like Michigan where a GOP governor promised he wasn’t out to kill union shops but then turned around to do just that.  The real purpose Tuesday seemed to be to stir disruption so that any possible violence could be blamed on workers.Workers were not alone Tuesday in objecting to the right-to-work-for-less steamroller. Interestingly, during the limited testimony that was allowed, some of the most powerful objections came from business interests.Bill Kennedy, president of Rock County Companies, flew in from Florida to testify how right-to-work-for less would freeze him and all contractors into a state of uncertainty about hiring as well passing the costs of training onto the taxpayer. Continue Reading